(For full details on the match itself vs. the Fire with all the inside information you need on head-to-head matchups projected lineups the latest injury and suspension reports miscellaneous game notes and more check out the Rapids' MatchUp page by CLICKING HERE).
The night will feature a free giveaway of a commemorative Marcelo Balboa bobblehead doll (pictured at left) to the first 5000 fans into the stadium that night!
The Balboa bobblehead is a unique collectible item that commemorates Marcelo Balboa's induction into the 2005 US Soccer Hall of Fame. The doll is modelling the same jersey that was presented to Balboa on his induction day.
On April 19 2005 The National Soccer Hall of Fame (NSHF) announced that Rapids legend Marcelo Balboa was elected as one of the three inductees this year to the National Soccer Hall of Fame and will be inducted on August 29 in Oneonta NY.
The former Rapids defender and current Soccer Ambassador for the club joined another two U.S. National Team stars and pioneers in the formation of Major League Soccer John Harkes and Tab Ramos in the NSHF’s Class of 2005.
Balboa was easily elected in his first year of eligibility. Hall of Fame induction criteria stipulate that a player must be retired for at least three years and each wrapped up their player careers in 2002. Additionally each player easily surpasses the minimum of 20 international games for the United States.
Balboa was a staple of the Colorado Rapids defense from 1996-2001. During his time in the Mile High City the athletically- gifted Balboa made 151 appearances scoring 24 goals and adding 23 assists over his career with the Rapids. Along with teammate Paul Bravo he went down in club history as one of the first two players ever inducted into the Colorado Rapids' Gallery of Honor in an on-field ceremony on July 4 2003.
Balboa made 128 appearances for the U.S. National Team between 1988 and 2000 scoring 13 international goals. However it is probably his bicycle kick attempt that went just wide of the net against Brazil in the 1994 World Cup for which is he most widely remembered. He was also a member of the US World Cup squads in 1990 and 1998.
"This is something that you dream about beginning as a young player said Balboa. "When the call comes your first reaction is 'Holy cow!'"
"What a glorious Class of 2005!" NSHF President/CEO Will Lunn said. "These are three players who have truly made a difference to the sport of soccer in America most notably on the field but they have been so very important in the growth of the game on all levels. We look forward to welcoming them to their new home in Oneonta."
Lunn will be on hand personally on July 23 at Invesco Field to participate in a special halftime ceremony honoring Balboa.
Tickets are on sale now for the July 23 "Marcelo Balboa Hall of Fame Night" and Rapids match vs. the Chicago Fire. To purchase yours now CLICK HERE.